Going bezel-less with Sharp Aquos Crystal

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Forget about flexible display and curved bezel screen. This 5-inch display smartphone from SHARP is literally bezel-less! Yes, you heard me right, it’s bezel-less and it’s from SHARP. Not a common name in the industry but Sharp has officially made its claim for a piece of the Android pie.

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Sharp announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal more than 3 months back but I just had to share this. Although Sharp isn’t particularly well-known for making smartphones in the industry, but it is a major supplier of LCDs. Sharp has taken the standard candy-bar form and pushed the display all the way up to the top, creating a device with basically no bezel on the top and sides, which looks extremely slick.

The Crystal is powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 with 1.5GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. While it’s not something you should be excited about, the 720p device will definitely be a great conversation piece during dinner.

And with a price tag of on $239 off-contract, the Crystal is yet to make its appearance in Malaysian market.

 

Source: ArsTechnica.com
Photo courtesy of Ron Amadeo

BenQ Introduces Their First Range of 4G LTE Smartphones in Malaysia

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BenQ has officially join the bandwagon with their first range of 4G LTE smartphones.

BenQ, which apparently stands for “Bringing Enjoyment ‘N’ Quality to Life” is a world-leading human technology and solutions provider aiming to elevate and enrich every aspect of consumer’s lives. Well, at least that’s what written on their profile.

But to many of us growing up in the PC era, BenQ is better known for their IT equipments. If you still have an old PC at home, take a look at the CD/DVD-rom drive, it’s probably a BenQ brand.

BenQ ventures bravely into the Malaysian market by bringing in two of their newest 4G LTE smartphones to the consumers, the 5-inch F5 and 4.5-inch T3. While the smartphones are different in size, these smartphones are equipped with QHD display and powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor and are running on Android 4.4 KitKat. Being the new kids on the block, these new smartphones from BenQ truly raises an eyebrow – for the kind of specs they are offering, it’s pretty amazing to see how they can actually lower down the cost of the phones.

Both of the BenQ smartphones boast a couple of features that are quite unique. The 4x ultra sensitivity mode feature on the F5 anf T3 is an innovative technology developed by BenQ that enhances picture quality in various light settings. A killer feature when taking photos in low-light condition. While the F5 packs a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 13-megapixel rear camera, the T3 is no short of decent pixels too bragging a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 0.3-megapixel VGA front camera.

Blue light can be harmful to our eyes and may cause age-related macular degeneration which can lead to significant vision loss. BenQ is well aware of this issue and therefore incorporated into the F5 and T3 a feature to minimize blue light exposure with the low blue light technology.

As for memory, the F5 is beefed up with a 16GB internal storage with 2GB RAM while the T3 has only 4GB internal storage with 1GB RAM. However, both phones supports microSD slot and expandable up to 64GB of storage space.

Built quality if commendable. Their rigid form feels really comfortable in the palm of my hand. What I like most of these smartphones are the anti-slip plastic cover on the back. It gives the phones a matte and sophisticated look while staying firm in our grip.

The F5 is now available at RM699 and the T3 is retailing at RM499.

Nokia is back with Nokia N1 Android Tablet

Nokia N1

Come 2014, many would have thought that Nokia, the Finnish giant phone maker has fallen off the edge. And with the recent acquisition by Microsoft, we probably won’t hear much of them ever again.

Well, it looks like we’re all wrong.

Nokia is back and they are back to take on Apple’s iPad Mini with their very own 7.9-inch display Nokia N1 Android-based tablet. It weighs just over 300 grams and will be running Android Lollipop.

Nokia N1

The 6.9mm thick device packs a 2.3GHz 64-bit processor and features an 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera.  The tablet will arrive in China for Chinese New Year before being offered in other regions.

nokia_n1_02

Nokia N1 will be selling at $249 plus taxes. The Nokia N1 may weigh in as the same category with the iPad Mini, but we will have to see the outcome in the ring. No news when it will be in Malaysia but will keep you guys updated on this.

Huawei Malaysia Announces 6-inch Huawei Mate 7

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Huawei today announces its first single-touch fingerprint smartphone in Malaysia, the Huawei Mate 7. The single-touch fingerprint technology on the Mate 7 enhances user experience at the same time providing a peace of mind whether it’s for work or play.

The single-touch fingerprint reader, which is located behind the phone and right below the camera, allows user to access the phone 80% faster than the conventional keying in of 4-digit pass code. The reader can support up to five sets of different fingerprint records and can be allocated to guest mode and enhance mode. Switching from guest mode to enhance mode will enhance security to private folders, applications, or payment information – this even works with wet fingers and under light rain condition.

The Mate 7 boasts an octa-core architecture with Huawei’s intelligent Kirin 925 processor that consist of four large A15 1.8GHz and four small A7 1.3GHz chipsets. Such intelligent architecture allows the Mate 7 to react to specific app or function with a greater power management.

Perhaps the highlight of the Mate 7 is its 6-inch crystal clear display, which is a rare commodity in the smartphone industry. And its strong aluminium alloy body with ultra-slim narrow bezel gives the Mate 7 a rigid form and yet maintaining its elegance. The 13 megapixel rear-facing camera and 5 megapixel front-facing camera makes the Mate 7 even sexier for a smartphone.

The Huawei Mate 7 comes in two variants – the standard and premium version. The standard Huawei Mate 7 supports a single LTE sim card with a micro-SD card supporting up to 32GB. As for the Premium Mate 7, it supports a single LTE sim card and a micro-SD slot, with the slot being able to support yet another LTE sim card.

The Mate 7 is available in three colours with the pricing as follow:

  • Standard Version – RM1,799 (2GB RAM and 16GB ROM) – Moonlight Silver and Obsidian Black.
  • Premium Version – RM1,999 (3GB RAM and 32GB ROM) – Amber Gold.

Both the standard version of the Mate 7 will be available at all authorised Huawei dealers nationwide from November 14 onwards and the premium Mate 7 will be available on a later date (TBA).

Is This Why Flappy Bird Creator Took Down The App? Before Nintendo Finds Out?

Flappy Bird is dead and gone. But the question of why the app is gone so quickly is still much of a question everyone is asking about, including myself. I am one of them who got to download the app before if was taken down but I was never good with that game. My personal best is still below 2-digits but I’ve seen some friends almost reaching 3-digits score.

I recently came across a video on YouTube that could perhaps shed some light on why the game is pulled off so quickly. The YouTube video which shows a player reaching Level 999 battling against an iconic game character, Mario from Mario Bros.

flappy_bird_999

Could this be the reason why the creator Dong Nguyen decided to pull off the game before Nintendo finds out? That he used Nintendo graphics and characters for his own personal gain? It only make sense because Nguyen is easily making USD50K / day with Flappy Bird but the potential legal suit from Nintendo could take away every from him including the money that he have already pocketed.

But of course, this is just my personal opinion and speculation. Whether it is the reason to it or not, we will never know. Or unless, this video is wonderfully doctored by the guys at pipocaVFX.

Alarming Facts about Geotagging, Smartphone Camera and Your Kids

Smartphone Camera Geotagging

Although this is nothing new, being a father myself, I feel a sense of responsibility to keep reminding parents out there the risk that they are putting on their children everyday. It has come to my attention that many parents are still taking photos of their pride and joy especially with their smartphones without knowing the risk. Now the thing about a Smartphone, you carry it with you most of the time and it is the easiest way to post photos on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even Photobucket. Now here’s an alarming message to all parents who take photos of their kids with their smartphone – you could be putting your children at risk of abduction.

Smartphone Camera Geotagging

Almost all the latest smartphones in the market comes with better and higher resolution camera for you to take better and clearer pictures of your kids. But what may not know, is that these smartphones can also include information that may give abductees the upper hand when you post photos of your kids online!

Geotagging is a feature that is available on many of the latest smartphones in the market today. It is the process of adding geographical identification and information encoded into your photos taken with your smartphone camera. While the information encoded into your photos may not be visible, but with the help of a number of software available online, anyone can easily retrieve the geographical information from the photos. This information can be easily put into a map that will eventually give out the location of each photo taken.

Smartphone Camera Geotagging

That photo you took of your 3 year-old son at the nanny’s place or the photo from the park you bring your kids to play, will be made available to the public once you uploaded it to social sites. Sure, privacy settings can help but to what extend? Now watch the video below and find out how easy for anyone to actually map out your location from the photos you’ve uploaded online.

The best way to prevent anything bad from happening is to disable your Geotagging on your smartphones. If you’ve no idea how to disable Geotagging on your smartphone, you can refer to the videos below.

Android

Blackberry & iPhone

Now let’s keep your love ones save and always be vigilant with your online activities. Share this article if you find it useful.

WhatsApp Stepping Up with Push-to-Talk Voice Messaging Upgrade

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is perhaps one of the most important Apps in every Android and iPhone I’ve ever had and I’m pretty sure it is to everyone else. It is the first App to be installed in my Android and iPhone every time I factory reset my devices and most likely to the 250 million active WhatsApp users too.

With so many players now coming into the picture with better messaging apps, WhatsApp too is stepping up the game by introducing Push-to-Talk messaging in its new upgrade.  Attaching voice messaging on WhatsApp was rather a pain in the past, having to tap tap tap through a variety of settings or menus or whatever you have to go through before you can send your voice message.  WhatsApp new upgrade voice messaging works by pressing and holding the record button while recording the message.

However, there is no indication how long a voice message we can send but I’m sure many WhatsApp users will be very happy with this new upgrade. I know I am.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Mini 2

They said good thing comes in small packages and the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 is the true testament to that. This device was introduced back in early February and now it has become one of the smallest and much affordable Android phones in the market.

I can’t really think of any shortcomings, even though the Galaxy Mini 2 falls under the lower-middle price range, you’d be seriously surprised by what is has to offer.

Design

The plastic looking Galaxy Mini 2 has a solid unibody form with a rather trendy design and a bright yellow back. It fits pretty well and comfortable once I have it on my hand. Just like most of Samsung Android devices, the power button is located on the right side of the device. On the left side, you have the volume control button and an expandable storage slot for micro-SD card. The 3.27-inch TFT is nothing to shout about, giving you a 320 x 480 resolution display, just good enough for normal video viewing. The multi-touch screen enjoys a good amount of pixel which makes text and images appearing a little sharper. The colour from the display tends to be a little less vivid.

Right on the front, there is a physical Home button at the center with two soft-touch buttons that sitting between it on the bottom part of the screen.

Performance

Running on 800MHz single-core Qualcomm CPU, the device is powerful enough to load Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.   Now do not think that the later version of Android is never good enough, I was rather surprised to find the Mini 2’s performance is snappier than I thought. It gets all the basic things done in a jiffy. Switching between apps and taking photos is rather snappy.

Connectivity

Browsing and getting on Facebook is pretty fast and smooth. Website gets loaded pretty fast and smooth even on my 3G connectivity. The Mini 2 works with HSDPA 2100/900EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900. Essentials such as GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are a must for all Smartphones and the Mini 2 is not short of it. In fact, I’m really impressed with the inclusion of NFC technology in the Mini 2. NFC is rather popular with other more powerful devices so it is indeed a neat feature to have on the Mini 2.

Camera

The Mini 2 is equipped with a single 3.15-megapixel back camera with Geo-tagging feature. It can record VGA video at 25fps. However, the only setback is a LED flash and a front-facing camera.

 

Specifications

OS: Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
CPU: Qualcomm 800MHz single-core
Dimensions: 109.40 x 58.50 x 11.63mm
Weight: 105g
Screen: 3.27-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colors
Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB2.0, Wi-Fi, NFC
Others: 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels back camera, 3.5mm audio
Network: HSDPA 2100/900 EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Battery: 1300 mAh

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Overall, I’m really happy with what the Mini 2 has to offer. A solid built device, decent performance and with an affordable price tag of RM599, what more can you ask?

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Facebook Might Really Be Doing Its Own Phone, Would You Want a Facebook Phone?

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Rumour has it that the social network giant is creating its own Facebook-centric phone. However, creator Mark Zuckerberg denies the existence of the Facebook Phone.

According to All Things D, Facebook and HTC were working together to develop the phone codenamed ‘Buffy’ that would hit the store shelves by end of the year, else first half of next. It is possible that ‘Buffy’ will run on modified version of Android, tweaked heavily to revolved more prominently around Facebook and HTML5 support.

So whether to rumour is true or simply just a hype. Question is, would you want one?

Siri for iPhone vs Voice Actions for Android

Okay, let’s talk about Voice-Actions feature on Android’s Voice Search App, SIRI-ously.

The technology world is buzzing with news and reviews of  Siri even though the world is still mourning the lost of a great inventor of the 21st century. Siri, a personal assistant app that was recently featured on the new iPhone 4S launch, have gotten so much attention, that the fact the new iPhone 4S is not any physically different from the previous iPhone 4 is no longer an issue anymore.

Siri is the future of iPhone and most likely the future of iOS. As the buzz grows louder, then came around a video of yet another revolutionary feature on the Android OS. As fans are flocking to YouTube to catch the latest review videos of Siri, video of Android’s Voice Actions is making its way to the social media network. To be honest, as an iOS and Android user, I’ve never paid much attention to this so-called Voice-Action feature on my Android mobile. However, it is after I learned about Siri, only I then I realised the Voice-Action App for Android.

I’ve been having some debates with friends regarding the existence of an app with voice-activated assistance for smartphones. Some claim that Voice Action has been there on Android OS for a very long time way before Siri and Apple is just a copycat. However, I beg to differ. In my humble opinion, Apple is neither a copycat nor a follower.

Siri is an amazing addition to the new iPhone 4S, so much so that one will buy the iPhone 4S just for it. It’s true that such similar feature is available much earlier on the Android OS; however it was merely unheard of.

When Tablet Computer was first introduced about a decade ago, nobody pays any attention to it. It was in 2007, when Apple first introduced the revolutionary Tablet Computer called the iPad that got every carrying one today.

In my humble opinion again; Apple did not re-invent the wheel, Apple just makes it look cool.

GoogleMobile uploaded a video on August 11, 2010 – Introducing Voice Actions for Android. After one year, it only attracted slightly more than 600K views.

As for Apple, a video that was uploaded on Oct 4, 2011 entitled Apple – Introducing Siri on iPhone 4S, just a week after the launch,  managed to draw more than 3 millions views.

It clearly shows which is more popular then.

 

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